Shaw's Agave [Agave shawii Engelm.]

Shaw's Agave [Agave shawii Engelm.]

Listing CNPS List 2 R-E-D Code 3-3-1

State/Federal. Status -- /C2 AGAVACEAE Sep.-May

Global Rank G3 State Rank S1.2

Distribution: San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Coastal Diegan Sage Scrub and Maritime Succulent Scrub are the two U.S. habitats utilized by this agave (Marina coarse loamy sand is mapped at Border Field). South of the U.S. border Shaw's Agave is often found on volcanic soils in a distinctive and quite diverse succulent scrub with Bergerocactus emoryi and Ferocactus viridescens. Shrubs here are low-growing and habitat is quite open.

Known Sites: A small population still grows at Border Field State Park within meters of Mexico. Intense fire at this site could pose a threat. It has been introduced at Cabrillo National Monument, Torrey Pines, and other locales such as the national wildlife refuge headquarters in Imperial Beach. A few plants occur naturally just south of Point Loma College. Data Base reports a vigorous population south of the Point Loma College site near the Fleet Combat Training Center west of Woodward Road.

Shaw's Agave is an abundant sometimes dominant shrub of the northern Baja coast, growing by the many thousands. North of Ensenada, near La Fonda, it covers hundreds of acres. Thirty-one specimens are deposited at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to 28 41' North latitude where collected by Clemons (SD 118992) north of Guerrero Negro.

Status: Shaw's Agave is almost extirpated in the U.S. and should be reintroduced at selected coastal sites utilizing native seed as source material. All existing sites should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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